Conference Details


National Empowerment Center

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The National Empowerment Center, a National Consumer Technical Assistance Center, is pleased to announce that the Alternatives Conference 2017 will be held in Boston, Massachusetts at the Boston Park Plaza from Friday evening, August 18 through Monday, August 21, 2017. Each Alternatives Conference offers in-depth technical assistance on peer-delivered services and self-help/recovery methods.

Alternatives is taking the opportunity to renew its commitment to diversity and highlighting the intersection of our community with so many others. Writer and activist, Audre Lorde once said, “we do not live single-issue lives.” We know this to be true. We know that individuals who’ve been given psychiatric diagnoses, experienced trauma, and/or otherwise received mental health services are a varied group made up of many strengths, backgrounds, and a multitude of experiences. We believe we are stronger for those differences.

As a step toward demonstrating our commitment, we will be paying extra attention to representing different viewpoints, welcoming people who don’t ordinarily participate, representing and involving people of different cultures, races, and ethnic backgrounds in every aspect of the conference. We invite you to help us by completing the voluntary demographics with your proposal application, and letting us know if you identify as being a part of any one of a number of groups that have historically been marginalized or under represented.

Hotel Information

Alternatives 2017 will be held at the Boston Park Plaza from Friday evening, August 18 through Monday, August 21, 2017. The conference will begin with dinner and opening night speakers on Friday evening, with full days of workshops Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The Boston Park Plaza conveniently located in the heart of Boston, near the Public Gardens, close to historic sites, and public transportation at 50 Park Plaza at Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116.

The deadline to make reservations at our special conference rate at the Boston Park Plaza has passed, and there are no longer discounted rooms available.

If you have a hotel room reservation and you no longer need it, please send us a message. We’d like to change your reservation at the conference rate to someone else rather than have you just cancel it. More Hotel & Travel Information...

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

The National Empowerment Center (NEC) has received approval for CEUs for Alternatives attendance through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for 15.5 CEUs for full conference attendance.

The Alternatives conference has been approved for CEs through The Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC). NAADAC continuing education (CEs) are accepted for PSS, PWS, CRM, MSW, LCSW, LPC, and CADC I, II, and III. More information at:

NEC is still waiting for approval for CEs through The Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC). NAADAC continuing education (CEs) are accepted for PSS, PWS, CRM, MSW, LCSW, LPC, and CADC I, II, and III. More information at:

Certified Peer Specialists and others can receive certificates of attendance with the number of contact hours.

Conference Registration

You may register for Alternatives at This link can be used until August 13th at 11:59 PM. If the site is closed, please download a copy of the onsite registration form and bring it with you to the conference.

The Alternatives Conference offers life-changing opportunities to those in the mental health peer-recovery community. It helps mental health consumer/survivors make valuable connections, develop leadership skills, provide and receive peer support, and share expertise and resources. We honor those who have paved the way, provided leadership in promoting recovery, and kept the Alternatives Conference alive for three decades. We welcome emerging leaders and those who are new to the peer community to this conference. This year, our theme is Building Healing Communities Together. We can’t do it alone; together we can build healing communities for everyone. Read more...

How to Obtain Funding for Alternatives 2017

The National Empowerment Center would like everyone to be able to attend Alternatives 2017 regardless of income. If you are looking for financial assistance to attend, the time to start is now!

Ideas and resources for you to use in your search for funding (PDF, 111KB, 6 pages)


We are pleased to announce the titles of some of the workshops for Alternatives each day of the conference (more than 100 workshops, caucus sessions and keynote presentations will be available). Read more...

Caucus Sessions

Each year Alternatives provides a forum for networking and discussing important issues with peers from around the country. The caucus session deadline has passed.

Exhibit Information

The Exhibit Space Agreement (PDF, 403KB, 1 page) is now available. Space is limited, sign up early! The deadline is July 14, 2017. More information will be available soon.

We hope to see you at Alternatives 2017 in Boston!

Awards to be given at Alternatives 2017

At each Alternatives conference, the following awards are given to people who have contributed to our community: Esperanza Hope Award, Youth and Young Adult Peer Leadership Award, Cookie Gant and Bill Compton LGBT Leadership Award, and Howie the Harp Arts Award.

We welcome nominations for these awards by July 21, 2017. Please complete and return the nomination forms available at the Awards page. Read more...